Will Zaheer lead pace attack at Durban?

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Published: Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 13:16 [IST]
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Will Zaheer lead pace attack at Durban?

The answer is most probably: yes, Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan is projected to recover from his groin strain in time for the second Test against South Africa in Durban, beginning on Boxing Day. With such an inept display of bowling from the available trio of Indian speedsters in the Centurion Test, captain M S Dhoni is looking forward to his main weapon bolstering up the attack and providing India the cutting-edge.

Dhoni is spot on when he says that Zaheer has had a lot of playing time under his belt. Having chalked up 76 Tests in his career, he is by far the most experienced of the present crop of Indian pacers. Sreesanth has appeared in just 22 matches thus far, and Ishant Sharma, in 29.
Zaheer is also the most effective of the lot, having picked up 261 wickets at an average of 32.22. Sreesanth only has 70 wickets to his credit, while Ishant bears a tally of 85 and both their averages are above 35.

Dhoni feels confident that with his star bowler back in the ranks, India could bounce back in the three-match series. However, it is disheartening that the visitors have begun yet another tour with a defeat in a trend that is becoming all too familiar. "That's one quality we have," he said. "It's not only in India. Most of the Test series, the first Test has often gone bad, but after that we have come back really well. Again we are back to a start that we are quite used to now, hopefully we will cope with that in the coming two games."

The side could also do with a helping hand from off-break Harbhajan Singh. Bhajji had an entirely forgetful time at Centurion, picking up two wickets but going at nearly 5 runs an over. His opposite number Paul Harris however, showed how even a flat pitch could be used to a spinner's advantage. Harbhajan will want to spin around his fortunes in the next encounter by perhaps flighting the ball and pitching it up more often.


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